Over the next few days, the blog is celebrating the work of percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love...
Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love is one of the busiest musicians in our galaxy, performing about 200 to 250 performances a year. His playing is often characterized by an amazing level of energy and intensity, but ironically such description of his work misses a large part of his art. Nilssen-Love always has been a sonic explorer, always challenging himself to find new ways of expressing his art and developing new sonic ideas, through new collaborators, free improvised formats and eventually also through solo drums sets.
News from the Junk Yard is his fifth solo drums album, following Sticks & Stones, recorded at the Sofienberg Church in Oslo in 2001 (Sofa Music, 2001); the live recordings of 27 Years Later, recorded at the Molde Jazz Festival in 2012 (released as cdr by Utech Records, 2005, re-released by PNL, 2010), and Miro, recorded at the at Foundació Joan Miró, Barcelona in 2008 (PNL, 2010), and the home recording of Cut & Bleed (iDEAL Recordings, 2014), introducing for the first time the wide range of percussive instruments he had accumulated across the world throughout his travels, from Korean gongs to scrap metal sheets from Ethiopia, later featured also in his power trio The Thing latest Shake! (The Thing/Trost, 2015).
News from the Junk Yard was recorded at the studio of Nilssen-Love frequent collaborator, noise master Lasse Marhaug, and continues to explore the sonic possibilities of Nilssen-Love collection of instruments, first featured on Cut & Bleed, now adding instruments from Indonesia and Ghana. This recording avoids any sort of powerhouse drumming as explored on 27 Years Later or Miro, still it is a very intense one.
Nilssen-Love creates dense percussive textures, often morphing his colorful assortments of metallic and wooden instruments into an abstract, otherworldly sound art, but with a remarkable command and focus. “Don’t Mess with Texa” stress how far he can transform the sounds of percussive instruments from the Far East into nuanced yet nervous drone that searches different degrees of resonance and reverberation, forming a lasting accumulating effect. “Agg” and “Rec Re” discover the sounds of the skins when pressured and manipulated in diverse manners, sounding now as weird, abstract noises, bringing to mind the manic noises of Japanese Merzbow or the sound artistry of David Jackman, aka Organum. “Laces” builds a multi-layered meditative and atmospheric net of tones and overtones out of clashes of gongs, cymbals, and other metal instruments. The last piece, “Oots”, is the only one that revolves around a playful theme, still, taking the percussive, resonant play with sounds into its intense, extreme terrains.